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      Shaw Air Force Base opens mixed martial arts facility for troops training

      SHAW AIR FORCE BASE (WACH) -- Hand-to-hand combat is a skill many members of the military are picking up to help them in battle. Shaw Air Force Base opened its first "combatives facility" this week where the Army and Air Force are training together to learn how to defend themselves on the ground by hand.

      "What the soldiers did is they did what's called the pulse, the frame and the hook," said Sergeant First Class Don Edwards with the U.S. Army. "Those are three techniques we teach soldiers if an enemy combatant gets too close to them."

      The hand-to-hand combat skills used at the combatives facility are now being taught monthly to soldiers and airmen who choose to sign up for the training at Shaw Air Force Base.

      "Level one combatives is a five day, 40 hour, block of instruction on basic combative skills," said Edwards. "What it does is teaches the soldiers how to have the confidence to fight and survive in a combat environment if they have to go to hand-to-hand combat."

      If they pass level one combatives this week, the soldiers can work to advance through four skill levels using mixed martial arts, including Ju Jitsu.

      "It's important that our troops have the right training to keep them protected -- especially important for women in combat, because combatives and ju jitsu is designed so that a smaller opponent can defend themselves from a much larger and stronger opponent," said Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Jarry with the U.S. Air Force.